Do Employees Have a Right to Access Their Personnel Files in Illinois?

March 1, 2019

Under Illinois law, an employee’s right to review personnel records is governed by the Employment Labor Relations Personal Record Review Act. 820 ILCS 40/1 et. seq.  To help you understand your duties as an employer, Rock, Fusco & Connelly has provided the helpful chart below:

Illinois Personnel Record Review Act

820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/0.01-40/13


Relevant State Law(s) on Employee Access to Personnel Files Are Private Employers Required to Provide Employees Access to Their Personnel Files? When, Where, and How Often Must Employers Provide Access to Personnel Files? Which Records May Employees Access? Which Records Are Employees Not Entitled to Access?
Personnel Record Review Act, 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/0.01-40/13. Yes. An employer, upon request (which an employer may require to be in writing on a form it supplies) must permit an employee to inspect specified personnel records. 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/2.

Employers must grant at least two inspection requests per calendar year when requests are made at reasonable intervals, unless a collective bargaining agreement provides otherwise. Id.


Employers must permit an employee (or the employee’s representative if the employee is involved in a grievance) to inspect the employee’s personnel documents within seven working days after the employee makes a request, unless the employer can reasonably show the deadline cannot be met, in which case the employer has an additional seven working days to comply. Id.; 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/5.


The inspection must be allowed during normal working hours at a location reasonably near the employee’s place of employment, unless the employer agrees to another time and location more convenient for the employee. 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/2.

An employee is entitled to view personnel documents related to the employee’s qualifications for:







•Additional compensation


•Discharge –or–


•Other disciplinary action, except as provided in 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/10 (which mentions business development, invading another’s privacy)


820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/2.

An employee’s right to inspect records does not apply to:

•Personal information about another person


•Letters of reference


•Any portion of a test document except for the cumulative test score


•Materials relating to the employer’s staff planning, unless related to employer’s action concerning an individual employee’s qualifications


•Discoverable records relevant to a pending claim between the employer and employee


•Certain investigatory or security records, unless and until the employer takes adverse personnel action based on information in those records


•An employer that does not maintain personnel records


820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 40/10.


If you have questions relating to this often misunderstood area of the law, please contact the attorneys at Rock, Fusco & Connelly, LLC.